1/19/2021: Persons of Interest: Modern Staffing Options Abound for Law Firms
Business growth is what everybody wants; but, it’s not easy to manage. Managing people brings with it new duties, and added headaches. Of course, it’s the only way to scale your business beyond yourself.
Fortunately, for law firms owners, there are more staffing options now, than you can shake a stick, even if you’re not ready to make the move to hiring an employee.
Many expanding law firms choose to engage contract attorneys, who can make their own hours, and are often experienced enough to manage their own worfklows. These folks don’t require benefits, or a salary. For contract attorneys, the advantage is that they can make their own schedule, which works well, for moms who want to be home with their kids, for example. Law firms using contractors are advantaged because of the cost savings -- in addition to salary and benefits, you’re also often saving office space and technology costs. Law firms with enough definable specific needs can hire contract attorneys to work in a very defined niche, which really means that you can have specialists surrounding your practice. If you’re interested in a more formal arrangement than the one you would have with a contractor, you can try an of counsel relationship, which would allow you to co-market with another law firm. In addition to the obvious cost savings advantages related to hiring contractors, there is the marketing fodder you get by working with highly qualified lawyers with deep subject matter experience.
And, these benefits don’t just extend to other attorneys. If you can become comfortable with managing a distributed workforce, you can hire the best staffpersons wherever they are. Cloud software also makes it easier than ever before to add or eliminate access to essential law firm management tools, and to stay on top of what’s happening with remote workers.
1/12/2021: Brand Aware: Logo Development for Law Firms
Review some law firm logos, and you’ll probably find similar characteristics: prominent use of gavels and/or columns; the logo design will likely be based on the first letters of the last names of the name partners; and, the color scheme will probably be blue/white or gray. What I’m trying to say is that pretty much every law firm logo is the same.
In a massively competitive market, like legal, that’s a bad thing, because when you’re scraping for business against every other estate planning law firm in your neighborhood, every little differentiation point helps.
So, let’s talk about the potential benefits of a new logo for your law firm: It can set the color scheme for your branding, including for website creation or redesign. (What if -- gasp! -- your law firm logo color scheme was not blue and white.) It can encapsulate important elements of your business in a more visceral way. (Amazon’s logo has the smile in it for a reason.) It is another link in your brand awareness campaign, and creates something memorable for your customers (and more importantly) your potential customers, who have another foothold into your business.
But, don’t just take my word for it, this is one of those things you have to see to believe. So, why not try a logo design/redesign campaign, and see where some thoughtful tinkering will get you -- you may start thinking of your law firm, and its services, in a whole new way. If you’re hiring someone to design a website, they’ll probably throw in logo design for free (in part, because it helps them to set the parameters of what the website should look like); but, if you’re not engaging that larger project, you can throw short money at a logo design contest on services like 99Designs or CrowdSpring, to see a bunch of options that might coalesce into an improved vision of what your law firm is and means.
1/5/2021: Trinity: The Three Software Tools Modern Law Firms Run On
If you’re a lawyer, law firm software is everywhere. Make one online search for the term, and you’re caught up in the vortex of SEO -- you’ll be served law firm software advertisements wherever you go online, from now until the end of time. I get how that can be annoying -- but, the point remains that law firms using the right software are more efficient, and make more money. So, it’s all kind of like that little voice in your head that tells you not to have the cheesecake -- obnoxious, yet bitingly correct.
So, even as you know you should probably be upgrading your software stack, it’s tough to swim through all of the sales pitches, and to wade through the multitudes of options available to you.
Fortunately, I’m here, to deliver you the answer you crave, to the question that keeps coming up: What software do I need to run my law firm?
A modern law firm should base its software program on three primary tools: productivity software (email + calendar, document storage), law practice management or case management software (a relational database to organize everything in one place) and an accounting program. Your productivity software and your accounting software should integrate or sync with your law practice management software. You should only be using cloud versions of these systems, in order to increase your flexibility, flatten your costs and increase your data security. And, if you need help setting up these systems or choosing between them, you should ask for help.
This is your lodestar for the future of your law firm technology platform.